06/26/2019- It was another full house at the Stephenson High School last night as both those for and against the Back 40 Mine in Menominee County gathered to speak at a consolidated hearing held by Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy on the project’s mining, air quality, and dam safety permits. A common concern from those seeking to prevent the construction of the mine is that the upstream design for the tailings dam is considered one of the least stable in the mining industry. A recent failure of this type of tailings dam in Brazil killed 270 people. Menominee resident Douglas Stephen says 76% of tailings dam failures worldwide are related to this upstream design and that’s a risk we can’t take locally.
Officials from both Marquette and Dickinson Counties were on site to support the mine saying economic development is a regional interest. Representative Sara Cambensy serves Michigan’s 109th district, including Marquette County where the Eagle Mine is located. She says she was originally skeptical of that project, but has since come to see it as a benefit for the area and hopes to also change perceptions of the local mine.
Written comment on the dam safety permit will continue to be received until July 5th, while the EGLE will take comment on the mining permit and air quality permit until July 23rd.
Comments on the dam safety permit may be submitted to: EGLE, Water Resource Division, Marquette District Office, 1504 West Washington Street, Marquette, MI, 49855.
Comments on the air quality permit may be submitted to: Ms. Annette Switzer, Permit Section Manager, EGLE, AQD
P.O. Box 30260, Lansing, Michigan, 48909-7760
Comments on the mining permit may be submitted to: Back Forty Project, EGLE/OGMD
1504 West Washington Street, Marquette, MI 49855 or emailed to EGLE-Mining-Comments@michigan.gov with “Back Forty Mining Permit” as the subject.